Road tolls have been rejected as they will exert financial pressure on ordinary people already burdened by increased levies, taxes and the removal of subsidies on maize and fuel.
The opposition National Restoration Party has charged that the introduction of toll gates by the Patriotic Front government is unacceptable and that it was unfortunate that funds were always misapplied.
NAREP president Elias Chipimo said the PF government has contradicted itself against the pro-poor agenda because the Toll Gates tax was double taxing on citizens most of whom did not own vehicles.
“Its seems the PF government has no consideration on how their action would impact on the poor Zambian people who have endured high cost of living as a result of the sudden removal of subsidies,” Chipimo said.
And NAREP Youth League secretary general Bwalya Nondo said the establishment of toll gates was unfair to Zambians because they were paying the highest taxes in terms of road tax.
Nondo said the Toll Gate levies were another way of exploiting the citizens by getting money from their pockets.
NAREP has demanded that electronic barriers should be placed only on new roads and not old roads.
“As NAREP youths, we disagree with the introduction of toll gates on our roads in the country. Transport is already expensive for a common man hence introducing another form of Road tax will make transport even more expensive.
“The rainy season is around the corner and some roads are still in a bad state. Motorists will have a hard time getting to their destinations yet they are subjected to so many taxes such as carbon emission tax and government cannot be accountable for all these monies,” Nondo said.
He appealed to the Road Development Agency (RDA) to tell the nation whether motorist would stop paying road tax through the current system.
The opposition youth leader also demanded for a comprehensive statement from the agency on how the funds raised from the toll gates would be utilised.
He complained that it was unfair in the midst of wage and employment freeze for government to put more economical pressure on its citizens.
Nondo further noted that toll gates only worked well in countries where governments were accountable and has since appealed to the PF administration to revise its decision.
Government has announced that tolling will start on November 1st 2013 for heavy vehicles at weighbridges and ports of entry. So far 27 toll sites have been announced and eight weighbridges.
And the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) executive director Revered Pukuta Mwanza has charged that the decision to introduce toll charges would exert financial pressure on the transport sector.
He said thousands remain unemployed and with the proposed wage freezer and two years of non recruitment of staff in the civil service, toll fees were a double tax on the citizens most of who don’t even own vehicles.
“Government should have slowed down this imposition on the financial burden for the people, after the removal of subsidies, many people have no income and with the graduating students from colleges and the universities, more and more people are without income,” he said.
Minister of Transport Yamfwa Mukanga announced that implementation of the suggested toll fees begins on November 1, 2013 at weigh bridges and border posts with minimum charge of K10 for cars and van and up to K250 for heavy duty trucks.